Hack the menu: How to eat healthily at Chipotle

ChipotleMallory Schlossberg/Business InsiderHow many calories do you think are in that meal?

With all of its healthy ingredients, Chipotle seems like it would be a smart choice for someone watching his or her waistline.

But the old adage “too much of a good thing” rings true here — oversized burritos stuffed to the max with rice, guac, meat, and more add up quickly.

Burrito-lovers don’t have to worry about giving up Chipotle forever to avoid gaining weight though. Using Chipotle’s nutritional data, we’ve broken down some popular Chipotle meals to show you where the calories are coming from — and how you can hack the menu to get the good stuff, without a day’s worth of calories.

There are 2,035 calories in a basic Chipotle meal!

Source: Chipotle

Let's break down that burrito. Here's what's in a basic steak burrito with the works.

Source: Chipotle

An obvious way to lighten up your burrito is to ditch the sour cream and cheese. Upgrading to brown rice, a slow burning complex carb, and chicken, with less fat and saturated fat than steak, makes the meal technically 'healthier.' But it doesn't save you too many calories -- this burrito still has 1,080 calories.

You can always avoid the bread and go for a burrito bowl. This burrito bowl is 540 calories without guacamole. There's nothing in here that's bad for you -- brown rice is a complex carb, and black beans and chicken offer ample protein.

You'll note we passed on guacamole for this burrito bowl. That's because it has 230 calories, which would have bumped our meal up to 770 calories. If you get it on the side, it's easier to limit the calories without foregoing guacamole altogether.

Source: Chipotle

A taco keeps you in line with smaller portion sizes. A serving of tacos at Chipotle includes three, so eating just one allows you to satisfy your cravings without destroying your waistline. But it matters what you put in your taco. Note how this taco has nothing green in it.

Source: Chipotle

This taco is optimal when it comes to calories (and you even get some guacamole, too). The smaller portion makes it a smarter alternative to a massive burrito.

Source: Chipotle

Getting a salad will save you the carbs from the rice and tortilla. This salad has only 330 calories.

Source: Chipotle

Including a half a container of guacamole in your salad will add 115 calories. Avocados are known as 'superfoods' because they're full of good vitamins, but they are high in calories.

Sources: Chipotle; Greatist

Be mindful of chips. Binging on a bag will cost you 570 calories. For what it's worth, two Sauza margaritas at Chipotle are 460 calories.

Source: Chipotle

You also can always only eat part of your burrito and wrap up the rest for later. A huge part of eating healthily is knowing when to stop.

And since most of Chipotle's ingredients are healthy, you can feel confident knowing there are options for eating well when you step up to order. It's just a matter of knowing what goes into your meal.

You've learned how to eat healthily at Chipotle ...

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